This is the book that Daniel Tammet, bestselling author and mathematical savant, was born to write. In Tammet's world, numbers are beautiful and mathematics illuminates our lives and minds. Using anecdotes and everyday examples, Tammet allows us to share his unique insights and delight in the way numbers, fractions and equations underpin all our lives.
Inspired by the complexity of snowflakes, Anne Boleyn's sixth finger or his mother's unpredictable behaviour, Tammet explores questions such as why time seems to speed up as we age, whether there is such a thing as an average person and how we can make sense of those we love.
Thinking in Numbers will change the way you think about maths and fire your imagination to see the world with fresh eyes.
An autistic savant shares his insights on mathematics and life in this far-ranging collection of entertaining and thoughtful essays. Tammet s (Born on a Blue Day) interests are intriguing and stunning in their diversity one moment he s considering the existence of extraterrestrial life and breaking down astronomer Frank Drake s famous equation for calculating the number of intelligent civilizations in the universe; the next, he s exploring Shakespeare s fascination with the presence of absence and the ways in which nothing can reveal far more than something. The essay Snowman, one of the book s best, is a poetic meditation on snowflakes and what they reveal about complexity. Tammet is a master of gleaning profound insights from seemingly mundane trivia, whether he s considering the polydactylism of Anne Boleyn, the numberless Kpelle tribe of Liberia, Plato s insistence that the ideal city be limited to exactly 5040 landholding families, or the mathematics of mortality rates. This is a delightful book, well-suited to random sampling, and capable of bringing even the most numerophobic readers into agreement with Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos: I know numbers are beautiful. If they are not beautiful, nothing is. Tammet s paean to numbers is proof that Erdos was right.